Report praises maternity and children’s provision at the Conquest Hospital

HEALTH inspectors have praised maternity and children’s provision at both the Conquest Hospital and Eastbourne’s DGH in a report released this week.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said the services met all required standards following the decision to temporarily base the consultant-led unit at the Conquest and turn the DGH’s one into a midwife-led unit.

The watchdog undertook an unannounced inspection of maternity and paediatric services, including the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU), on June 24 following the temporary changes, which started on May 7.

During the visit the CQC’s team sought the views of staff, patients and relatives and received positive comments.

Darren Grayson, chief executive of East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “We are delighted the CQC has found we are meeting all essential standards inspected in our maternity and paediatric services. I would like to thank our staff in these service areas, who work hard every day to ensure that we are giving our patients the best possible care. It is particularly pleasing the report contains positive comments made by patients and their relatives.

“Making the temporary changes to the configuration of these services was not done lightly. The board took into account the views of our leading nurses, midwives and doctors who were clear that we could make our services significantly safer by changing the way they were provided. In particular we are pleased that the CQC used this inspection as an opportunity to examine concerns that had been raised by some Eastbourne paediatricians. The CQC found no evidence to support these concerns.”

Campaigners from both Hands off the Conquest and Save the DGH fiercely opposed health bosses’ moves to centralise maternity at the Conquest. Margaret Williams, chairman of Hands off the Conquest, said: “I hope the praise is warranted and that the service is safer and better. But I still have this worry about the road between Hastings and Eastbourne. It is getting more and more clogged.”

A formal 12-week public consultation on the future of maternity services is likely to start in the autumn this year with the three Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) inviting the public to give their views. To access the online survey visit www.hastingsandrotherccg.nhs.uk.